Since February 2023, a new coffee speciality called „Oleato“ can be found in some Starbucks shops in Italy and in Seattle (USA) and Los Angeles (USA). Here, a shot of cold-pressed olive oil is added to the coffee to give it a nutty note. In the finish, the customer gets a velvety texture of the coffee and a slightly sweet and buttery experience. At the same time, adding fat to coffee is not at all new. Adding coconut oil or butter to the popular pick-me-up has been around for quite some time. One example is „Bulletproof Coffee“. This coffee speciality is supposed to boost the morning metabolism and give coffee drinkers an extra dose of power.
The idea for the oleato came from the Starbucks boss himself. In Sicily, he noticed that it was quite normal in Italy to take a pure spoonful of olive oil every morning. Coffee is also a popular morning ritual there. So, without further ado, he decided to combine these two components. Starbucks boss Howard Schulz then discovered that the addition of the olive oil improved the coffee’s taste considerably. This gives the coffee a buttery, soft and nutty flavour.
This coffee creation is one of the biggest product launches in decades. It is expected to permanently change the coffee industry and be a profitable addition to the Starbucks company.
Side effect of the Oleato
What initially appears to be an innovative marketing coup could backfire in the truest sense of the word. According to reports from CNN, some customers complained of a nasty side effect after consuming it. This oil drink apparently makes them go to the toilet faster.
Also, according to CNN, an internet platform said that a Starbucks barista shared the following experience: Half the staff at one branch tried the Oleato and later found themselves in the toilet. Another customer described on Twitter that the oleato had caused stomach pains.
Why so many people visit the toilet after the oil drink is still unclear. It could be due to the oil, because oils can have a laxative effect. But it could also be because of the unusual aftertaste. Yet a 400 ml drink has up to 34 g of fat. That is more than you would find in a meal. This was described by a nutritionist to CNN. Olive oil can also help soften stools. This in turn makes it easier to go to the toilet.
Oleato was first introduced in Italy in February, according to the Starbucks company. It is said to be an alchemy between partanna olive oil and Arabica beans. The Starbucks chain was apparently inspired by the fact that olive oil is also found in various Italian dishes.
In the process, Starbucks founder Howard Schulz himself came up with the idea to refine the coffee with this oil. According to the company, a spoonful of olive oil is added to the coffee.
What is so special about Partanna olive oil?
Partanna is a carefully selected blend of extra virgin olive oil. It consists of the best olives that can be found in the Mediterranean region. These include the high-quality Nocellara del Belice olives (which are also called Kastel vetrano), which come from Partanna in Sicily. This blend was chosen very carefully so that they harmonise perfectly with the Starbucks coffee. It is also very artfully blended into the drink to create a very fine and delicious coffee experience.
In the future, the Oleato drink will be served in all Starbucks shops around the world. This includes creations such as:
Oleato Golden Foam Cold Brew: In this drink, the aroma is full-bodied and the cold foam is infused with Partanna extra virgin olive oil. The olive oil quietly pours through the fine, dark brewed drink and adds a very subtle sweetness.
Oleato Caffè Latte: This is a light roast that is fine and subtly sweet. The coffee is blended with Partanna extra virgin olive oil and steamed with a creamy oat milk. This makes for a delicious, subtle, full-bodied latte.
Oleato Iced Shaken Espresso: With this coffee drink, you experience different levels of flavour. Strong espresso, enhanced with notes of hazelnuts and creamy Partanna olive oil-infused oat milk.
Starbucks says that in creating these drinks, they were inspired by the rich traditions and history of olive oil and coffee. These are two fascinating ingredients of nature. By adding olive oil, the soft, chocolaty coffee takes on a velvety, fine and rich texture. The rounded and buttery aromas of the olive oil harmonise perfectly with the notes of the coffee.
The special thing about Partanna olives is that they have a unique nutty and slightly sweet taste. This is reminiscent of a full-bodied softness of buttery caramel and is therefore perfect as a natural complement to coffee. The oleato can be enjoyed either hot or cold; either way you can feel the luscious texture.
Is the Oleato healthy?
When the Oleato is introduced, the focus is primarily on taste. Health advantages or disadvantages are a minor matter for the Starbucks company for the time being. Besides, some health benefits are attributed to virgin olive oil anyway. The New York Times also deals with this Starbucks novelty and the health factor of olive oil. Various studies prove that people who regularly consume a spoonful of olive oil suffer less from cardiovascular diseases. In addition, the risk of osteoporosis decreases and the blood sugar level is also balanced. The multiple unsaturated fatty acids and antioxidants in olive oil are primarily responsible for this. However, no concrete link can be established between these health benefits and drinking pure olive oil. Rather, it seems to be an interplay of several factors.
In order to benefit from the best of olive oil, one should also pay attention to a healthy diet. Here it is important to reduce the intake of unsaturated fatty acids, i.e. the bad fats. It makes sense to eat more vegetable fats and less animal fats. If one were to simply add olive oil to one’s coffee in addition to one’s normal diet, one would not benefit so much from health advantages, but would merely consume additional calories.